Mother’s snow appeal falls on receptive ears

Brought to the city’s attention by a mother of two young children who appealed for help after she was stranded in her Hilchey Road home

It should be easier for pedestrians to get around this winter thanks to the efforts of a young Campbell River mother.

Starting this year, the city will be responsible for clearing snow from city sidewalks on main roads.

City council approved the initiative at its Tuesday meeting, after the city’s Community Services, Recreation and Culture Commission brought the request forward. Coun. Andy Adams was the lone councillor opposed.

The issue was first brought to the city’s attention earlier this year by Campbell River resident Angela Macauley – a mother of two young children who appealed to council for help after she was stranded in her Hilchey Road home following a particularly bad snowfall this past March. Macauley said that nearly one week after the snowstorm, the sidewalks were still impassable and, being without a vehicle, was unable to walk to the bus stop safely to get to her appointments.

“Pedestrians were forced to walk on the road even though it had stopped snowing by Monday night,” Macauley told council in March. “Only one or two people on the entire road felt obligated to clear the snow from the sidewalk in front of their homes.”

Under the city bylaw, residents are encouraged to clear snow from the sidewalks surrounding their home, but are not required to. City crews, in the past, have been limited to clearing just those sidewalks in front of city-owned properties and facilities.

Coun. Larry Samson said Tuesday he’s pleased to see the city step up and shovel out sidewalks along the main walking routes, which include Alder Street, Dogwood Street and Hilchey Road.

“The way we plough our roads we do tend to push the snow onto the sidewalk. We compound the problem by ploughing the roads and pushing the snow onto the sidewalks, making it even more difficult for people to get around,” Samson said, noting the importance of making the sidewalks accessible considering the number of people in the community who don’t have a vehicle. “Campbell River does have a large number of single parents that move around without a vehicle.”

It may be awhile, though, before the city puts its new protocol into action – the long-term forecast is calling for rain and temperatures hovering around, or just below, 10 C.